Moofiebonbon Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 1:14pm
post #1 of

Advice needed ASAP.
Over the weekend in the town where my store is located a 14 year old boy was killed in a car accident. The driver and another passenger were also 14. My heart aches for these kids families, so very sad.
The driver has the same last name as we do and his first name is very similar to my 19 year old sons. My store is closed on Sundays & Mondays and I live 15 miles away and do not get cell service at my home. When I was driving into work early this morning I received 9 text messages from acquaintances and relatives asking if my son was okay, they heard that he was in an accident and was the driver that killed this young man. On my phone at my store there were 4 missed calls from these childrens school, no messages.
I am so sad for these kids and their families. My cousin called this morning and told me that many people at the local hospital where she works are saying that the boy driving was the owner of my stores son. She is correcting them, but how many people think this and not getting the truth. It is my understanding that although this was a stupid accident, people in this town are almost witch hunting the 14 year old driver.
It is not my intention at all to sound or be insensitive to the families, so please do not think this is what I am doing. I am concerned that although we have no association to these kids, the belief that the driver is my son will harm my business. I want to release a statement but I am unsure what I should say. Please help. And honestly know that I am so sorry this has happened and I would never do anything to upset anyone involved. I feel terrible for thinking that this will negatively affect my business, it feels almost insensitive, but the reality of doing business in a somewhat small town and the rumors that are already flying, it worries me.
Any help will be greatly appreciated.

30 replies
cheatize Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 1:34pm
post #2 of

How about something like, "Our hearts go out to the family of ______. Particularly since the name is so similar to my own son, their heartache is deeply felt by our family."

genevieveyum Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 1:41pm
post #3 of

You could also add- "I remember when my son was 14 and to have his whole life affected by such a traumatic incident would have been devastating."

sugardugar Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 3:05pm
post #4 of

After the tragic event which occured on (date), (business name) would like to offer our sincerest condolences to (this family) and (that family).

Add some words for fluff.
I think the situation is too delicate to say something like...this wasn't our son...in any way, you know? But the fact that your offering condolences to both families shows neither of them are yours.

thumbs Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 3:41pm
post #5 of

I was thinking the same thing. Making a statement saying "All of us at Cakes r us, would like to send our condolences to both the families involved in the tragic accident on March __, 2011".

Be very careful not to state that it isn't your son involved but also be careful to not word it as though you are sending an apology on behalf of your son.

scp1127 Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 5:46pm
post #6 of

Due to the mixup, it may be newsworthy. Contact your local paper and see if they can help clear it up. But a sign on your door and email to your clients may help. Don't worry about how you feel. We "mama bears" are supposed to protect our children.

StacyN Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 6:01pm
post #7 of

You should not feel bad at all for wanting to clear this up! It involves your child and your business so you have to think of them. I agree with scp1127, call your local newspaper but, I would also post a sign as others have said and send out emails. I would get the word out as much as possible to protect your son and business.

carmijok Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 6:04pm
post #8 of

I think you should mention that it wasn't your son...email your customers and post a letter in your store. It will help clear things up.
Perhaps say something like:

'Even though the tragedy that occurred on (date) had nothing to do with our family, it is heartening to know that we have so many friends and loved ones who--understandably mistaken--poured out their love and concern for us.

We feel the utmost sympathy for the families involved in this horrible accident and hope that our community will rally around those who do indeed need our support.'

imagenthatnj Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 6:08pm
post #9 of

This is your child and your business, and even though the situation is a sad one, you have to make sure your son is not mistakenly involved in this. If I were in your shoes, I would try to clear it up, not so much for my business but for my child. I agree with the three previous posts, and I think carmijok has worded it nicely.

LindaF144a Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 8:07pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

Due to the mixup, it may be newsworthy. Contact your local paper and see if they can help clear it up. But a sign on your door and email to your clients may help. Don't worry about how you feel. We "mama bears" are supposed to protect our children.




I agree with this idea. It's what I would do.

luckylibra Posted 22 Mar 2011 , 11:39pm

I am so sorry to hear your community is enduring such a loss. I am a juvenile probation officer in a small town and we had a similar incident about two years ago and there was definitely a witch hunt to blame the young driver. He was eventually charged in juvenile court and placed on probation but the community response to him was heartwrenching. The two passengers in his car were his best friends and were killed, the driver was speeding although not recklessly it did not matter and in the court of opinion he was crucified. I would encourage you to post on your business web site, email and store front a note of condolence to the families involved and I think the wording that this tragedy has brought forth such support for your family due to the mistaken belief he was involved for which you are very grateful. Encourage those that are contacting you to offer their support to share that same generosity with the families of the children who were involved and that they remain in your thoughts.

Annabakescakes Posted 23 Mar 2011 , 12:43am
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmijok

I think you should mention that it wasn't your son...email your customers and post a letter in your store. It will help clear things up.
Perhaps say something like:

'Even though the tragedy that occurred on (date) had nothing to do with our family, it is heartening to know that we have so many friends and loved ones who--understandably mistaken--poured out their love and concern for us.

We feel the utmost sympathy for the families involved in this horrible accident and hope that our community will rally around those who do indeed need our support.'




I think this is PERFECT! If you felt inclined to, you could do a day or a specific item where 10% of the proceeds go to a benefit for the families for burial or medical expenses of the surviving.

crumbcake Posted 23 Mar 2011 , 1:13am

Carmijok, your letter is lovely and I think is sensitive to all.

mommachris Posted 23 Mar 2011 , 2:26am

The idea of fund raising for the family is a great one.
Contact the local news with the idea of correcting the misunderstanding and at the same time getting out the word that you'd like raise money in the name of the child. If done delicately it can help to the family and clear up the name confusion at the same time.

mommachris

abqgreene Posted 23 Mar 2011 , 2:54am

I am a teacher and have had to deal with several horrific incidents of losing lives too young.

I would suggest something like the following to clear up any confusion.

"As a member of the community, we are shocked and saddened by the recent tragedy. We have been extremely touched by the outpouring of support due to the names being similar. We will soon be announcing a fundraiser to help the _______ family with expenses.."

A cake/ memory walk at the local high school could be a fundraiser and a chance for healing.

lorieleann Posted 23 Mar 2011 , 8:20pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmijok

I think you should mention that it wasn't your son...email your customers and post a letter in your store. It will help clear things up.
Perhaps say something like:

'Even though the tragedy that occurred on (date) had nothing to do with our family, it is heartening to know that we have so many friends and loved ones who--understandably mistaken--poured out their love and concern for us.

We feel the utmost sympathy for the families involved in this horrible accident and hope that our community will rally around those who do indeed need our support.'




I think this is the most appropriate response.

I have to go against the idea of publicly hosting a fundraiser or making a public donation in the name of 'healing from the tragedy'. While it is a small community from what you said, this is primarily a loss of the families from a random accident. I think it would be wonderful that if a fund was established, your shop made a donation to help them cover expenses, but to call attention to your donation, or to solicit business in an effort to create more donations I feel could look opportunistic. My town has experienced a very large tragedy (the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords and 20 others) and while there are victims funds, businesses are keen on not wanting to appear to take advantage of the situation for getting their name out there in an effort to support.

again, i think your heart is in the right place here in wanting to be supportive (and informative), but the message could have some unsavory undertones that you might not realize.

costumeczar Posted 23 Mar 2011 , 10:59pm

I agree that the condolence letter that also mentions that your son was not involved is a good idea. Also must agree that you shouldn't take part in starting any fundraisers for the families.

I'd say something along the lines of "I was sorry to hear of this tragic accident, and wanted to make sure that our friends and customers who have expressed concern about my son know that he wasn't involved in the accident. We appreciate the concern that was shown, and are sorry that the similarities in my son's name and the name of the boys who were involved caused any confusion or concern for people who know my son."

I think that if you start a fundraiser it's overstepping. I'd issue the statement and/or post the letter on your shop door, but I would call it quits there and let the issue pass.

wizzywig Posted 5 Apr 2011 , 5:16pm

hi, i live over in the uk, can i just ask, is it legal for 14yr olds to drive in the usa? to me that sounds way too young

KoryAK Posted 5 Apr 2011 , 5:30pm

No, 16 is the youngest (well, 14 with a parent while you're learning)... hence the incident icon_sad.gif

miss_sweetstory Posted 5 Apr 2011 , 5:40pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by KoryAK

No, 16 is the youngest (well, 14 with a parent while you're learning)... hence the incident icon_sad.gif




Many states grant a license at 16, but it depends on the state. South Dakota has the lowest age at which a person can receive a restricted license (14yrs, 3months... under 16 cannot drive between 10 pm and 6 am. New Jersey has the highest (17yrs).

Claire138 Posted 5 Apr 2011 , 6:12pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by miss_sweetstory

Quote:
Originally Posted by KoryAK

No, 16 is the youngest (well, 14 with a parent while you're learning)... hence the incident icon_sad.gif



Many states grant a license at 16, but it depends on the state. South Dakota has the lowest age at which a person can receive a restricted license (14yrs, 3months... under 16 cannot drive between 10 pm and 6 am. New Jersey has the highest (17yrs).




Wow that seems really young. I know this is diverting from the topic but how come there isn't a blanket age across the U.S.? can each state really have it's own rules?

jason_kraft Posted 5 Apr 2011 , 6:52pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire138

Wow that seems really young. I know this is diverting from the topic but how come there isn't a blanket age across the U.S.? can each state really have it's own rules?



In the US, states are allowed to make their own rules for anything as long as it does not contradict an existing federal law. For example, the US minimum wage is set by the federal govt at $7.25/hour...states are free to institute a higher minimum wage (and most do) but they cannot legally pass a law with a lower minimum wage than the federal minimum.

There is no federal minimum driving age (although there is talk in Congress about instituting one) so the states are free to come up with their own rules in that respect.

miss_sweetstory Posted 5 Apr 2011 , 7:16pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire138

Quote:
Originally Posted by miss_sweetstory

Quote:
Originally Posted by KoryAK

No, 16 is the youngest (well, 14 with a parent while you're learning)... hence the incident icon_sad.gif



Many states grant a license at 16, but it depends on the state. South Dakota has the lowest age at which a person can receive a restricted license (14yrs, 3months... under 16 cannot drive between 10 pm and 6 am. New Jersey has the highest (17yrs).



Wow that seems really young. I know this is diverting from the topic but how come there isn't a blanket age across the U.S.? can each state really have it's own rules?




Although this may not help much, the answer is covered in the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Basically, if the Constitution doesn't address the subject, it falls under the individual States to determine the law.

Claire138 Posted 5 Apr 2011 , 7:21pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by miss_sweetstory

Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire138

Quote:
Originally Posted by miss_sweetstory

Quote:
Originally Posted by KoryAK

No, 16 is the youngest (well, 14 with a parent while you're learning)... hence the incident icon_sad.gif



Many states grant a license at 16, but it depends on the state. South Dakota has the lowest age at which a person can receive a restricted license (14yrs, 3months... under 16 cannot drive between 10 pm and 6 am. New Jersey has the highest (17yrs).



Wow that seems really young. I know this is diverting from the topic but how come there isn't a blanket age across the U.S.? can each state really have it's own rules?



Although this may not help much, the answer is covered in the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Basically, if the Constitution doesn't address the subject, it falls under the individual States to determine the law.




Oh, that's interesting. Thanks for the info.

jason_kraft Posted 5 Apr 2011 , 7:33pm

The Constitution does specifically grant the US federal govt authority to "regulate commerce...among several states", which is interpreted pretty broadly:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commerce_Clause

The federal govt also gets around this by reducing funding to states who don't follow federal guidelines on issues not related to commerce. For example, any state that didn't raise the minimum drinking age to 21 is penalized by receiving less money from the federal govt to cover transportation costs.

wizzywig Posted 6 Apr 2011 , 9:36am

i know here in the uk that they have now made the car insurance (which you have to have to be able to drive) really expensive for people under 21 or 25 years old (i cant remember which age it is) so it makes it harder for them to be on the road. but you'll always have parents that get their kids nice cars when they are only 16 or 17. im just jealous, my dad wouldnt pay for my lessons until i started working so i didnt get my licence until i was 23. i think we've totally gone off the topic havent we?

Sam_paggers Posted 6 Apr 2011 , 10:31am

Hi Wizzywig..... tis 25 for UK insurance to decrease... roll on my next birthday!

I was the same as you, in that i didnt take a driving test until 22. I had to chose paying for that or uni and now my friends who were driving at school have racked up some no claims and pay nothing in comparison. Also doesn't help, i had a little bump (minor damage no personal injury) and my insurance has doubled.

Also, my friend was telling me (shes works in insurance) that all female insurance prices are going up. At the moment we get reduced rates for generally being safer drivers.. now the EU has given a directive that insurers can't descriminate on gender (only age, marital status, employment and so on). Rather than reduce mens prices, the cost of being a female driver will now be matched to those of the guys....think it comes into play next year......great!!!
rant over
sam
xxx

Sam_paggers Posted 6 Apr 2011 , 10:32am

Hi Wizzywig..... tis 25 for UK insurance to decrease... roll on my next birthday!

I was the same as you, in that i didnt take a driving test until 22. I had to chose paying for that or uni and now my friends who were driving at school have racked up some no claims and pay nothing in comparison. Also doesn't help, i had a little bump (minor damage no personal injury) and my insurance has doubled.

Also, my friend was telling me (shes works in insurance) that all female insurance prices are going up. At the moment we get reduced rates for generally being safer drivers.. now the EU has given a directive that insurers can't descriminate on gender (only age, marital status, employment and so on). Rather than reduce mens prices, the cost of being a female driver will now be matched to those of the guys....think it comes into play next year......great!!!
rant over
sam
xxx

indydebi Posted 6 Apr 2011 , 11:37am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam_paggers

now the EU has given a directive that insurers can't descriminate on gender (only age, marital status, employment and so on).


That's odd because (having spent over 15 years in the insurance industry) the rates are based on data that analyzes what drivers cost more (and ergo should pay more). Women aren't charged less because they are WOMEN and its the NICE thing to do. They are charged less because statistically they have fewer accidents.

Now .... if women are getting more aggressive and the driving stats reflect that, then a rate increase is justified.

But even with all those years in the industry, I quit trying to figure out the logic behind a lot of things that are done! icon_eek.gif

cakesbymindysue Posted 6 Apr 2011 , 3:16pm

Driving age has a lot to do with the area. Here in Idaho you can get a permit at 14 1/2 and a restricted license (no night driving) at 15. There are a lot of agricultural areas here and families often all work on the farms. Having the children able to drive makes it easier to divide the work. It also helps with school since many times familes living on these farms are not on a bus route and it would take a parent away from work to get the children to school.

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